Merry Nothing

From the comic strip Bizarro by Dan Piraro.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Liz Heywood

    And a happy whatever! : }

  • Anonymous

    A merry nothing to all, and to all a good non-existence!

  • Anonymous

    Hope all have a safe and merry nothing!

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Ha.
    Ha.
    That’s just as funny this time as the last four times I’ve seen it.
    As in “nothing.”

  • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

    Yea. Funny. About as funny as my grams saying “I guess this day didn’t mean anything to you, did it?” Hilariously insulting.

    • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

      But they’re still being cheerful while saying it. It’s a meaninglessly inconsistent comic strip.

      • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

        I guess. I suppose I’m just not in an emotional place right now to appreciate it. My first Christmas as an out atheist has not been a good one (although only some of that is due to the atheism and other’s reactions to it).

        • Mihangel apYrs

          Christmas:

          the time of the solstice when we celebrate winter’s fading.

          It doesn’t have to be religious, and certainly not Xian; it should be a time to reflect on what we have, and celebrate those we love

          • SomeoneSmall

            No, CHRISTmas is the CHRISTian celebration of the birth of CHRIST. Anything else cannot by definition be called Christmas (Christ’s mass, or feast day). Pray don’t call your winter solstice celebration (can’t quite call it a HOLIday, can we?) “Christmas.” Etymologically speaking its absurd.
            Sorry, a pet peeve of mine.

            • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

              Etymology isn’t the end-all, be-all of language, and the meaning of words. Language evolves, meanings change. Don’t believe me? Think of the word “gay,” and consider how much sense it makes to think of the modern, typical usage of the word in ” . . . don we now our gay apparel!”

              • http://garicgymro.wordpress.com/ garic gymro

                An even more relevant example: If you don’t believe in Woden or Thor, how come you feel comfortable talking about meeting on Wednesday or Thursday? Isn’t it etymologically absurd (whatever that means) to enjoy these days without acknowledging the pagan gods who gave their names to them? And how can Christians celebrate Easter when that too looks very much as if it’s named after a Germanic goddess? 

                • SomeoneSmall

                  We aren’t celebrating Woden or Thor as we are celebrating Christ on Christmas.
                  If you are unaware of what “etymologically absurd” means, I would suggest that you not make an arguement saying that something is not etymologically absurd.
                  As for Easter:
                  http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=113267

                • http://garicgymro.wordpress.com/ garic gymro

                  By saying “whatever that means” my point was that the idea of etymological absurdity in this context is just incoherent. You seem to be claiming that there’s something wrong in using a name for a thing when the etymology of the name doesn’t match with your view of that thing.  But that whole idea’s absurd! We call a planet Saturn, though hardly anyone believes in the god any more. Neither you nor I believe in Woden or Thor, but we’re perfectly happy to keep saying Wednesday and Thursday. And I don’t see how, in your conception of etymological absurdity, how that’s any less absurd (how does celebrating make any difference?). Now, I can see a different argument that you might make (but didn’t) and which doesn’t rely on this notion of etymological absurdity:  By saying “Wednesday” one doesn’t imply that one’s a Woden believer. By saying “Christmas”, on the other hand, one might be taken to imply that one’s Christian. This is true, and may be an argument for non-Christians who want to keep on celebrating their midwinter festival on 25 December to call it something else, so as to avoid misleading people as to their beliefs. But I don’t think it’s a strong argument. It doesn’t genuinely mislead many people at all, and  – as many people have pointed out — it’s certainly no worse than what Christians did in  co-opting pagan festivals, and borrowing pagan terms like Yule and Thursday 
                  (Easter, I’m happy to agree, is disputed, given how little evidence there is for the origin of the name). 

                  In any case, this has nothing to do with this notion of etymological absurdity, which seems to me to be basically an expression of the etymological fallacy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etymological_fallacy

              • SomeoneSmall

                Touché, let me rephrase that, “by definition, this is absurd.”
                Christ·mas
                Pronunciation: ˈkris-məs
                Function: noun
                Usage: often attributive
                Etymology: Middle English Christemasse, from Old English Cristes mæsse, literally, Christ’s mass
                Date: before 12th century
                1 : a Christian feast on December 25 or among some Eastern Orthodox Christians on January 7 that commemorates the birth of Christ and is usually observed as a legal holiday

                Definitions may be more definate, but etymologies can certainly be important as well.

            • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

              Etymologically speaking, you seem a bit culturally myopic. You do realize that in several other languages, Christmas retains its pagan name?

  • Okii_J

    I prefer the phrase Happy holidays but whatever makes you happy. Jesus wasn’t born in Dec anyways so if that is the only meaning for the holidays then it’s a little pointless isn’t it?

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    It’s cute but misses the fact that atheists can still enjoy exchanging presents, holiday cheer, spending time with family and loved ones, helping the less fortunate, putting up lights, decorating trees, being happy, thinking about humanity and the grater good, eating, watching children get all excited, drinking, listening to music, taking a couple of days off work, sleeping in, singing, watching some treasured holiday themed shows, helping out others, taking stock, and looking forward to a new year.

    All that is definitely something.

  • OverlappingMagisteria

    Uuuggh….  
    This is just a cute spin on the “Atheists don’t believe in anything” trope.  Sure, many atheists don’t celebrate Christmas, but neither do Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindu’s, etc. Shouldn’t the comic apply just as easily to them?
    It’s just reinforcing another stupid false stereotype.

  • Likerainonrocks

    I acknowledge Christmas as a stolen holiday with no foundation in Christianity, its roots are Pagan. I acknowledge Christmas as a Secular (and largely commercial) holiday that has nothing to do with the layer of chipped varnish Christians have tried to coat it with. 

    I celebrate cultural heritage… those traditions of ancients, that manage to survive by being passed from one generation to the next.  Customs that barely squeaked past some very cruel times in history when people who disagreed with the Catholic Church’s ideas, were not treated with kindness (if allowed to live at all). For me, I celebrate Christmas as a celebration of that which is most important: The ability to believe in whatever truths we find for ourselves, not the ideas forced upon us by the ill-informed. More importantly it is about holding whatever ground you can, in the sh*tstorm of Religion. I’ll eat a mince pie in honor of those old Pagans (Mince pies were banned in England during the Puritan ban on Christmas during the 1600′s). I don’t believe in the religious side of their customs, but I respect that they held on for as long as they could  and some part of their history still lives on.Then I’ll exchange gifts with family, and spend the day as it should be spent, in the company of those we care about and love.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

    It’s Bizarro! For those who are offended, Dan Piraro is an atheist, so I’m pretty sure the cartoon is ironic.


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